CONVICTED perjurer Tommy Sheridan has confirmed his Solidarity party has been involved in Scotland's new pro-independence group since its inception.

The former MSP said Solidarity representatives had attended the inaugural meeting of the regional list-only Alliance for Independence (AFI) earlier this year.

He said the Alliance appeared "worth participating in" and Solidarity might "put the cause before the party" at the 2021 Holyrood election by standing as part of the umbrella group.

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The comments will fuel speculation that the AFI is being teed up as a comeback vehicle for Mr Sheridan, whose political career imploded a decade ago.

The AFI, which is currently fronted by former SNP MSP Dave Thompson, is due to submit its registration paperwork to the Electoral Commission today.

It plans to field list candidates for Holyrood next year in a bid to maximise the number of Yes MSPs elected to force Boris Johnson to grant Indyref2.

However Nicola Sturgeon has refused to withdraw SNP list candidates to give it a clear run, meaning it could split the Nationalist vote.

The SNP, which won just four top-up list MSPs in 2016 after doing so well in constituencies, has also accused it of "gaming the system".

Mr Sheridan, 56, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2011 for committing perjury in the £200,000 defamation action he won against the News of the World in 2006.

The now-defunct tabloid had claimed he visited a swinger's club while a Glasgow MSP.

The scandal saw Mr Sheridan quit as leader of the Scottish Socialist Party in a bitter feud with comrades and form Solidarity.

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He currently works for the Kremlin-funded propaganda outlet Sputnik news.

Last week, he wrote an article for Sputnik saying UK accusations that Russian agents hacked Covid vaccine research and interfered in elections were “fact free”.  

He said: “They are manufactured by a government intent in promoting an anti-Russian line as it serves their interests to have the populace frightened by the ‘threat’ from Russia.”

He also suggested the 2018 Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury was an anti-Russian smear. 

When the fledgling AFI announced its first meeting in January, Solidarity was the first of the smaller pro-independence parties to confirm its attendance.

When the meeting was held in Glasgow in February 2, one of the official hosts was Pat Lee, a former co-convener of Solidarity.

Steve Arnott, a former Solidarity organiser in the Highlands & Islands, also chaired the event.

Solidarity's old rival, the Scottish Socialist Party, was not invited.

In the new edition of the pro-independence Scottish Prism podcast, Mr Sheridan explained: "We went to the first meeting of the Alliance. We sent delegates as observers to that.

"The observers came back and said it was worth considering but there's a lot of work to be done.

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"I think they've a conference planned in September or October.

"I think that is something that is worth participating in.

"Within Solidarity, I think we always have to put the cause before the party, and the cause of independence is bigger than Solidarity. So if this is a cause that can be advanced via this Alliance, then why don't we sit down and discuss like adults?" He said he doubted the Greens would join the AFI, "but for the existing independence parties and this new alliance, I think there has to be a lot of discussion over the next three to four months.

"We've got the ability to kick at least 20 of they smirky, useless Unionists out of Holyrood."

Mr Arnott gave evidence in both the defamation and perjury cases.

In the former, he suggested several of Mr Sheridan's former SSP colleagues had been suffering "some form of delusion" when they reported hearing him confess in 2004 to visiting a sex club.

In the latter, he said a video tape of Mr Sheridan confessing was also fake.